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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Rapid Chess Championship 2014: Spills, Chills, Thrills... and Carlsen Wins.

Hello chess friends, three days of exciting rapid chess have concluded in Dubai with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen becoming the new World Rapid Chess Champion 2014. That is a double along with is World Classical Chess Champion title! The World Blitz Chess Championship begins tomorrow in Dubai and everyone's asking the same question: Can Magnus pick up a third world title?

Meanwhile, looking at the rapid event, let's just say it was spills, chills and thrills all the way. Magnus Carlsen concluded the first day of play just 0.5 points behind leaders Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Sergey Karjakin who had 4.5 points. Carlsen, along with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Le Quang Liem and Sergei Movsesian had 4.0 points.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen makes a double by winning the World Rapid Chess Championship 2014 in Dubai. Photo: Screenshot

However, the World Chess Champion concluded the second day of play with a clear lead after 10 rounds with 8 points. Levon Aronian was right behind at 7.5. There was quite a group at 7.0 points including Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Alexander Grischuk, Yu Yangyi, Viswanathan Anand and Peter Svidler. 

The third day of play was not easy at all today. Magnus stayed in a 0.5 lead after drawing with Levon Aronian in the 11th round (the first on the third day of play today), but suddenly lost the 12th round - the BIG ONE - to Viswanathan Anand. Most fans on twitter took it as a psychological win for the Indian and started calculating who was going to win the title by the time the 15 rounds ended.

The loss meant Caruana and Anand were suddenly in joint lead with 9.0 points. Carlsen was down to third at 8.5 points along with Yu Yangyi, Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov.

So, was it going to be Anand picking up the Rapid World title, or perhaps Caruana? Then came the 13th round. Could Carlsen pick himself, dust off the loss and go forward?

Magnus stood firm and beat Yu Yangyi, while Anand could only draw Carlsen and Levon Aronian could only draw Radjabov. This meant we again had three joint leaders after 13 rounds (two to go) -- Caruana, Carlsen and Anand at 9.5 each. The rest of the pack just 0.5 points away.

Round 14 was actually mad! Totally! Carlsen beat Grischuk in a game that was so obviously lost... that it must have been a heartbreak for the Russian Grandmaster to not win it. Carlsen won. Caruana also floundered and lost to Aronian. Radjabov held Anand to a draw.

The 15th round began with Carlsen needing just a draw with Radjabov to win the title. None of the other managed to catch him and he got a clear first. Karjakin could have won and drawn level to force a tiebreak score evaluation, but he lost to Morozevich. Anand and Aronian drew. Caruana beat Le Quang Liem to win the silver, while Anand got the bronze on better tiebreak score over Aronian.

Stay tuned at the official website for the Blitz World Chess Championship 2014 beginning tomorrow.

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